Twitter for Event Promotion

Recently I have been asked to provide some twitter tips to event organizers that I advise. I thought it might be worthwhile sharing as this seems to be a common question.

First, Do you have a twitter id for your company? If so make sure you share it (widget for that at If not, you should. Keep it short like @BEbiz (short for Big Event Business) so that it is easy to re-tweet (RT) – share and spread. That account should tweet updates on speakers booked, events or interviews leading up the event, relative events and content, live statements at the event, RT others tweets about the event and related issues and post event comments as well as content related to the topic and people involved. (It can also feed into your Facebook, Community and LinkedIn pages, if you have them.)

Next, make sure your event has a hash-tag (#) and that everyone knows about it. That way you (and participants) can track any tweets about it using the simple search functionality in twitter. For example, use #ABE11, short for A Big Event 2011. Post it on your site and place reminder in all communications to use the tag (as well as at the conference for live coverage).

Third, You can insert the feed from all tweets using the hash-tag (#ABE11) onto your website so that all conversations are tracked and shared. This is an easy widget that can be found at

Fourth, be sure you get your presenters and sponsors twitter id’s, if they have them, and put them in the program. It helps those who are tweeting to assign content to the presenter. Each time you book a speaker is an opportunity to cross promote so be sure to share your twitter id and hashtags and make sure you “follow” them on twitter too. You might even create a list of your speakers in twitter so others can follow them.

And fifth, but VERY important. Make sure your venue has decent wifi coverage and that people know how to get on if there is a code. Test it too.

Good luck and enjoy. Remember to listen as well as tweet. True balance is from give and take. Nobody likes to follow a pure self-promoter. Keep it in context and off you go.

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Entrepreneurs on twitter

This is a response to a tweet from Furqan Nazeeri (@altgate) listing 67 entrepreneurs on twitter. I am afraid I am not very good at limiting myself in 140 characters, so I decided to write him an email and share it with my readers. I responded to his post as there were no women on his list. Naturally he responded asking for suggestions. In an effort to respond, I realised, yet again, that their presence is greatly lacking. I referred @ariannahuff, @maggiefox, @charleneli, @adrianne and @connectedwomen based on their quality of interactions.

Two things stood out to me. I am curious if others have seen these trends as well. Note: these are observations, not judgements, and very generalised. The first is that women entrepreneurs often focus on coaching and soft skills, leading to small businesses that don’t dare to think big. If they are on twitter they use it as a social update tool only or references to their own services only (which doesn’t encourage others to follow them). If this is the type of interaction, I can see why they might consider it a time drain without much ROI. I guess there is a lot of work to be done.

The other trend I observe here is that twitter is still perceived very much an American toy to the rest of the world. I looked through my list of who I follow (keep in mind I only follow based on context of social media optimisation and social entrepreneurship) and the vast majority were US west coast based. Some of the women entrepreneurs that I thought would be an obvious hit in terms of twitter, didn’t have a presence at all (ie. Julie Meyer of Ariadne Capital and Stina Honkamaa of Google Sweden, link in Swedish) or they only had a social one.

Entrepreneurs need to capture, listen and interact with their audience. If done effectively, participating on twitter with a strategy as part of overall strategy, will have a positive ROI. Twitter etiquette by Julie Niesen is a good place to start. The playing field is level, let’s keep it that way. Thanks Furqan for sparking the question. I will continue my quest to support and share the stories of those who are succeeding as well as to encourage best practice for those who’ve just begun. Please feel free to send me ideas.

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Value of a Digital Relationships

Trying to determine the value of a friend in social media can be challenging, almost as much as it in real face to face life. Thinking about our digital relationships is quite interesting in terms of understanding value. In determining this we need to understand the different forms of relationships and why we have them.

Facebook’s purpose is social interaction with our extended network. Overlapping the use of your Facebook profile that is connected to your college buddies and nephews is not the same profile that should be connected to your business peers. If a user is too focused on one side or the other with a blended profile, their “friends” will lose interest and turn down the volume or cut them off completely. It’s like being stuck next to the old friend at a dinner party that talks about their work. Even worse, a business dinner that you are stuck next to the new parent who is struggling with potty training. Real friends provide context by understanding their audience and therefore have far greater impact (and greater value). To obtain the highest value from your friends in Facebook, make sure they are the friends you do want to be “social” with, and create a separate fanpage for your business. If your real friends are interested in your business they will be a fan of your business too.

When you want to boost your ego or build your brand, then tweet away. Yes, I am actually writing something positive about Twitter. I admit it, I have converted. But, and I mean a very strong “but”, when used effectively. There are a lot of tools to build your followers (twitter’s version of friends). I am happy that others are interested in the links and things that I share and appreciate their insight. Like many professionals, I use twitter to find other interesting links and things that others are sharing. The value of me following all of my “followers” would be merely to increase the noise in the feeds that I get. I have never been a fan of scrolling endlessly. Sharing my daily grind of how many shots of espresso I have consumed or my favourite chocolate is best left to my friends on Facebook, as I do not wish to create anymore noise for my followers. Besides, who I am following is also a resource to my followers. If there are interested in what I am saying, they are probably also interested in who I am listening to. It should therefore have context. They can see that I am real in the variation of my shared links as they vary from my personal reads like “Anatomy of Peace” to reports from the Skoll Forum on Social Entrepreneurship to new media tools or articles like Business Week’s Byrne and Baker’s podcast on the value of our digital relationships for advertising.

Let’s not forget LinkedIn which is a great business networking tool. I am not going to hang out on it all day making small talk with my connections. I visit when I am looking for someone or something specific or adding a new connection. The groups and connections that I have in LinkedIn are based on real interactions. We worked together, participated in face to face networks together, studied together, met at conferences around the world and shared a conversation, had meaningful conversations from which we can refer back to and/or share mutual professional interests. All of which provide a basis for me being able to refer them to someone or them to me. I make a point of placing a high value on the connections and therefore not connecting with the ones to whom I come home with card in hand. So, I may not have thousands of contacts in LinkedIn, but in each of them there is something we mutually offer in terms of a reference.

Amassing a huge contact/friend/follower base has never been a high value in itself. Unless you are one of those unusual people who never forgets a face or a conversation, but that is mostly the exception. What it comes down to is authenticity and the value and integrity of those connections. Their value to an advertiser is not the same as what they are worth to you. Your value does come down to your influence and that can only be created by your own integrity.

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Twittered Out

Given my current research on the efficient use of social media as both a personal and professional tool, I spend far too much time monitoring and using social media tools. I am increasingly bothered by Twitter-like messages. I certainly believe that less is more, but is it really necessary to tell everyone you are waiting in a cue for ice cream? I must admit, I have been known to enter tidbits on my Facebook wall presenting the ”me” beyond my professional self. We are, after all multi-dimensional beings. But without turning all notifications off (which the average social media user never bothers to learn how to do) we are getting flooded with menial messages. Even though they are well meant, they borderline spam (albeit from a pre-approved source).

I am all for aggregating media and making things freely accessible. But we do need ways to simplify the filtering process and monitor our own behavior for efficiency. The Internet has been an endless source of information for the curious. Now we personify that beyond research. We learn more about our friends, our peers and our community. But do we get what we need or want? We need to feel connected. We want to be entertained and informed. Yet, when we lose ourselves in the curiosity factor, do we lose our piece of mind (or five minutes peace) with all the Twitter going on around us? It remains to be seen. But personally, I am learning to find my piece and my peace with more effective use of the Internet so that I can be off-line more.

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